Renting is a good option in Portugal if you’re not sure how long you’ll stay. Portugal has become wildly popular with expats and digital nomads lately. And for good reason. The sunny weather, laidback lifestyle, and lower cost of living compared to elsewhere in Europe make it super appealing.
Portugal is one of the cheap places to live in Europe. It’s generally an easy, accessible country for expats to secure rental accommodations. There is a good supply of rental properties across popular destinations like Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve and others. Property owners and agencies accustomed to working with foreign clients. Whether you’re staying short-term or long-term, Portugal has got you covered. Over 60,000 residence permits were issued to non-EU citizens just last year.
Some key advantages for expats renting in Portugal
Renting in Portugal has great perks for expats:
- It’s flexible. You can try different neighborhoods before deciding where to buy.
- Choose furnished or unfurnished places based on your needs and length of stay.
- Monthly costs are often lower than mortgage and tax payments.
- Leases usually range from 1-12 months – good for short or long stays.
- Major cities have good public transportation.
Portugal also better protects tenants than some other countries:
- Reasonable deposit requirements
- Clear rental contracts
- Laws preventing unlawful eviction
Portugal also has appealing protections for tenants relative to some other countries. Reasonable requirements for deposits, clear rental contracts and law protecting tenants from unlawful eviction.
Reasons to rent instead of buy in Portugal
Weighing whether to rent or buy in Portugal depends on individual circumstances and goals. However, here are some of the key reasons renting may be a better initial option:
- Test out different areas – Renting lets you get to know the character of different neighborhoods before purchasing.
- Shorter stays – For those only looking to spend part of the year in Portugal, renting can provide more flexibility.
- Fluctuating markets – Portugal’s real estate market has seen some instability and fluctuations in recent years. Renting avoids timing the market.
- Less commitment – Renting requires shorter minimum leases and lower upfront costs.
- Future uncertainty – Those unsure where they will want to settle long-term may want to rent first.
Overall, renting provides greater flexibility and lower risk for many in Portugal. It’s a logical choice while getting acquainted with living in the country.
Popular rental locations in Portugal
Portugal offers diverse options across cities, towns and coastal regions. The most in-demand areas to consider when looking for rentals in Portugal include:
As Portugal’s capital and largest city, Lisbon provides culture, nightlife, historic architecture and urban amenities. Rental costs are moderate compared to other European capitals. Expect to pay around €900-1500 monthly for a one-bedroom apartment.
Porto attracts visitors for its food and wine scene, music events, nightlife and proximity to beaches. Renting in Porto tends to cost slightly less than Lisbon, with apartment rentals averaging €700-1200 per month.
For those looking to be near Porto but in a more peaceful setting, Braga offers a slower pace and lower rents. Expect to spend €500-800 on a one-bedroom.
Known for its Mediterranean climate, golf courses, and resort towns, the Algarve region in southern Portugal is beloved by vacationers. Rents vary across destinations but average €700-1400 for a one-bedroom.
This university city offers a vibrant mix of student and academic life along with cultural attractions. Rents range from €400-1000 for a one-bedroom apartment.
Just outside Lisbon, Sintra charms visitors with its palaces, castles, and nature. Rents average €800-1200 for a one-bedroom apartment.
Types of rentals available in Portugal
Portugal offers diverse rental accommodation types to suit different needs. A range of online and offline resources exist to help expats find rentals across Portugal:
- Rental Portals – Sites like Uniplaces, Spotahome and VivaReal allow browsing and booking rentals across major cities.
- Real Estate Agencies – There are many local Portuguese agencies that also work with foreign clients.
- Rental Specialists – Companies like Portugal Homes, BeHome and Expats Portugal specialize in rentals for expats.
- University Housing – Student-focused rental sites like Uniplaces and student departments can assist students.
Securing a rental in popular areas may take time and effort. Be ready to provide required documents and move quickly on units that meet your needs.
Is it easy to rent in Portugal as a foreigner?
Overall, Portugal offers a relatively easy and straightforward process for expats compared to other countries. However, a few things to keep in mind:
- The application process is similar to the UK, requiring credit checks and employer references.
- Some landlords or agencies may be hesitant to rent to non-EU foreigners. But this is not too common in expat-friendly areas.
- Using a specialized rental agency can help navigate requirements and language barriers better compared to going directly through landlords.
With some persistence and preparation, most expats can secure satisfactory long or short term rentals.
Costs of renting in Portugal
Understanding the potential costs involved is key to budgeting for a rental in Portugal:
- Rent Amount – Prices vary greatly by location and size. A 1-bedroom apartment may range from €500 to €1500+ per month.
- Deposits – Typically 1-2 months’ rent. Some agencies assist by only requiring part upfront and spreading over a few months.
- Agency Fees – Agencies often charge one month’s rent, paid by the tenant. Private landlords do not charge this fee.
- Utility Costs – Electricity, gas and water average €150-250 per month. Some landlords include utilities.
- Internet/TV – Count on paying €30-60 monthly for basic packages.
- Assistance Programs – The government provides some housing cost support programs for students or low-income residents.
Carefully add up all expected costs before signing a lease to ensure it fits your budget.
Can a foreigner and non-EU rent a house in Portugal?
Portugal is open to foreigners renting property. The keys for a foreigner to successfully rent in Portugal include:
- Having a Portuguese NIF number and local bank account.
- Providing the standard documents like passport, proof of income, and references.
- Using a rental specialist agency who can assist foreign clients. Large Portuguese agencies may also have experience working with expats from countries like the UK, France, Brazil and others.
- Looking in expat-heavy areas where landlords cater to foreign renters. This includes Lisbon, Porto, Algarve and cities with big student populations.
- Hiring a lawyer if needed to review the lease terms and negotiate requirements as a foreigner.
While bureaucracy can be tricky at times, in general foreigners face minimal obstacles to long or short term rentals.
Tenant rights and laws in Portugal
Learning renter’s rights is advised to ensure fair treatment under Portuguese tenancy laws:
- Leases usually last one year. Landlords can only increase rents by small percentages on renewals.
- Renters are entitled to basic maintenance and repairs within reason. Failure may allow for rent reduction.
- Evictions outside of lease terms must follow proper legal procedures. Landlords require due cause.
- Deposits must be returned promptly at move out, minus any damages or overdue rent.
- Discrimination based on nationality, gender or other factors is prohibited.
Having a clearly defined lease and contacts for assistance is recommended in case any disputes arise with landlords. Overall Portugal’s rental laws favor tenants.
How do I get a rental contract in Portugal?
Typical private rental contracts in Portugal consist of:
- Names and information for landlord and tenant
- Full address of the property
- Lease start and end dates
- Monthly rental amount and payment terms
- Deposit amount owed
- Utility and other responsibilities
- Any other terms agreed between parties
Most landlords use a standard lease template. Hiring a lawyer or notary to review the contract provides extra assurance but is not essential. Make sure to only sign the lease if you agree to all terms and have a copy.
Tips for renters in Portugal
Follow these tips for a smooth rental process as an expat in Portugal:
- Have all required documents like proof of income and passport translated or notarized into Portuguese to streamline applications.
- Consider hiring a rental specialist agency to assist with viewings, paperwork and negotiations, especially if you don’t speak Portuguese.
- Don’t transfer any money until signing the contract and receiving keys.
- Photograph the property’s condition upon move-in to document existing damages.
- Understand all service costs like electricity and garbage collection that may not be included in the rent.
- Join expat Facebook groups and check listings for rentals that may not be posted elsewhere.
- Consider hiring a lawyer for added assurance with contracts if you have concerns.
With the right preparation and guidance, the rental process can be quite smooth for expats and foreigners.
Can you live comfortably in Portugal on a $1000/month budget?
While not a luxury lifestyle, living off $1000 per month in Portugal is doable for singles or couples focused on budgeting. Some tips:
- Opt for smaller towns and cities away from the main tourist centers where rents and costs are lower.
- Choose a studio or share an apartment to save substantially on accommodation costs.
- Shop for groceries at economical supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi.
- Use public transportation and bicycling rather than owning a car.
- Take advantage of free activities – beaches, parks, hiking trails, festivals, etc.
- Avoid eating out frequently and be selective when you do.
- Consider occasionally renting out a spare room via Airbnb for extra income.
- Investigate work exchange opportunities to offset living costs.
While not ideal for everyone, Portugal provides a relatively inexpensive cost of living for budget-minded individuals and families.
Helpful resources for renters
These online resources offer helpful information and services for expats renting in Portugal: